- A Jan. 27 Sports article incorrectly said that WTOP is an AM radio station. It is an FM station.
WILLIAMS: After Four Years and Four Interviews, He's 'Released'
Sunday, January 27, 2008; Page D01
Williams, the assistant head coach-defense the past four years, was told the search for a new head coach would go on without him; the Redskins have also granted him permission to interview with other teams, ending his tenure with the franchise.
Williams's candidacy, during which he'd interviewed four times, was endorsed by many Redskins players, former coach and team president Joe Gibbs and a large number of the team's fans, hundreds of whom posted angry messages on various Internet message boards backing him for the job and decrying the decision.
"Playing for Gregg was great," defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin said. "When I first came here he welcomed me and I'll definitely miss him. I enjoyed playing for him, and, yeah, we wanted him to get the job, but I wish him the best. He'd hold guys accountable for their actions on the field and off the field. That's not riding guys hard, that's called being a professional."
The Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams have already asked the Redskins for permission to speak to Williams, league sources said. The Rams considered Williams a strong head coaching candidate in 2005 prior to Williams signing a three-year extension with Washington; Williams is close to Titans head coach Jeff Fisher.
Williams, who is owed about $2 million for the year remaining on his contract, declined to comment yesterday.
"While Gregg is under contract to the Redskins for the 2008 football season, the Redskins have received and granted requests to other teams to talk to Gregg, and told him he is free to talk to any team he wants about future employment," said Williams's agent, Marvin Demoff. "But at this time he remains under contract to the Redskins."
The Redskins referred to Williams and former associate head coach-offense Al Saunders as being "released," and in a statement owner Daniel Snyder thanked them. Snyder declined to speak publicly yesterday.
"In particular, during our most difficult time last year, they both helped hold the team together as we kept moving forward," Snyder said in a statement. Williams, who was replaced by former assistant Greg Blache, spoke with Saunders yesterday, league sources said, with both men wishing each other well.
Williams's meeting with Snyder yesterday was his first contact with any team official other than Gibbs since last interviewing on Jan. 15, Demoff said. Williams became alarmed Friday when reports on WJLA-7 and WTOP-AM, citing team sources, stated that he was no longer a candidate because he had been disrespectful to Gibbs during the interview process. ESPN had a similar report later Friday night.
"I can't believe anyone would even come close to suggesting that I would ever say anything inflammatory or derogatory about Joe Gibbs," Williams said Friday night. Williams has praised Gibbs privately and in public often during his time here.
"I can assure you that Joe Gibbs is one of the best people I have ever been around in the world, and one of my favorite people to ever be around," Williams said. "I came here because Joe Gibbs asked me and I feel honored to work with Joe Gibbs.